The 8 Best Theme Park Hotels in Orlando for 2024

If you are taking a vacation to any of Orlando’s world-class theme parks, you will want to be sure to stay at one of the best theme park hotels. Where you stay for your trip will affect the budget, convenience, and overall experience of your trip so this is not a decision to make lightly! I have stayed in hotels all over Orlando and I want to share my top recommendations.

For those who don’t know, the theme parks in Orlando tend to have partner hotels (often called on-site hotels) that offer perks for staying there. These are usually more expensive but offer an immersive and less stressful vacation. In this post, I’ll include suggestions for both on-site and off-site theme park hotels for each of the major theme parks. Hopefully, this will help you decide where to stay for your Orlando vacation!

best hotels in orlando by theme park

If you want to take the stress out of planning, Kelly’s Magical Services can book a trip for you! Find out more here!

Best Disney Theme Park Hotels

With Disney World being the largest theme park complex in Florida, they have the most resort options to choose from. Disney actually tiers their hotels as Deluxe, Moderate, and Value. The main differences between these tiers are price and distance from the theme parks. I will offer my suggestions for each.

For all on-site Disney theme park hotels, there are added resort benefits. Guests can get early entry to the parks on select days and free parking at the theme parks. In addition, Deluxe resorts also get two extended evening hours per week on specific days.

All Disney resorts even have the opportunity to make dining reservations and paid fast pass reservations earlier than other park guests. These resorts are also all connected through a system of buses that guests can ride for free. However, they are slow and often time-consuming to rely on.

Currently, I do not find these perks enough to justify the cost of staying at these hotels. However, the atmosphere is magical and I do have so many wonderful memories of vacations there. Here are my picks if you plan to splurge for your Disney World vacation.

Cinderellas Castle at Magic Kingdom theme park

1. Best Deluxe Disney Theme Park Hotel – Yacht and Beach Club

In my opinion, the best hotel in Disney World is the Yacht and Beach Club Resort. Though many might argue Grand Floridian is the best, with its fancy style and monorail access, Yacht and Beach has it beat in two areas. One, you can easily walk to Epcot within minutes and take a boat or walk to Hollywood Studios. This makes for a huge timesaver for theme park transportation.

The other perk is the massive Storm Along Bay pool complex. This is the best Disney World resort pool by far, with multiple sections, a huge water slide, and a sandy bottom. You could spend days just hanging out at the pool, as well as exploring the beautiful boardwalk this resort is on.

I also love the coastal style of Yacht and Beach and the multiple seafood restaurants here. With prices starting at $500 per night, this resort is not in the budget for most. However, if you are planning to spend top dollar for a one-in-a-lifetime Orlando vacation, this would be my first choice to stay at.

yacht and beach club resort pool at Disney World

2. Best Moderate Disney Theme Park Hotel – Port Orleans Riverside Resort

The next option for a slightly more reasonable, but still expensive, Disney Theme Park Hotel is the moderate category. These resorts only sleep four people per room (as opposed to the deluxe hotels that can usually sleep five). They also are quite large and often require an internal bus system to get around.

Though Caribbean Beach has the Disney Skyliner which provides transportation to and from Epcot, my favorite moderate Disney World resort is Port Orleans Riverside. The entire complex is themed to resemble the charming bayous of rural Louisiana.

best disney world moderate resort - port orleans

The grounds of this resort are so peaceful, with options to rent surrey bikes or go fishing. There is also a large pool with a slide and nightly campfires. Port Orleans Riverside is even a pet-friendly theme park hotel, so you can bring your pup with you!

My favorite part is that can take a boat to Disney Springs. This area has some of the best dining options at Disney World! Or you can eat at one of the many affordable options at the hotel.

Nightly rates for Port Orleans start at $250, which is more reasonable for such an immersive experience. You can get more for your dollar with off-site Orlando theme park hotels, but if you want the convenience of being close to Disney World, Port Orleans is an awesome option.

port orleans riverside

3. Best Value Disney Theme Park Hotel – Art of Animation

The last category of Disney World operated hotels is the “Value” category which is the cheapest. These hotels are basically motels with an animated theming and a much higher cost. Though you can get a cheaper and nicer off-site hotel than these, staying on Disney property can add whimsy and convenience to your trip. If you are considering a Value resort, my top pick is Art of Animation.

This Disney resort has the most theming of any of the Value options with intricate Disney movie references all across the grounds. It also is the only value resort with access to the Skyliner which will get you to Epcot and Hollywood Studios quickly.

disney art of animation value resort

The cafeteria here is one of the best on-site and you can walk or take the Skyliner to full-service restaurants at Caribbean Beach or Riviera Resort. Lastly, the pool is fantastic with a Finding Nemo theme.

Rates for Little Mermaid rooms start at $160 for one night here. These are the only rooms that sleep four people and are the most affordable. The rest of the hotel sleeps six and these rooms usually cost $300+ per night. If you plan to take advantage of Disney transportation this Disney theme park hotel is one of the cheapest ways to do it, while still having a great atmosphere.  

art of animation little mermaid section

4. Best Off-Site Disney Theme Park Hotel – Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

If you want to save money, but still stay at a hotel close to the Disney theme parks, there are many options along I-4. However, I think the best hotel in Orlando is the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress just around the corner from Disney Springs. For around $200 per night, this resort is a luxurious stay with a pool and beach, activities, pet-friendly rooms, and excellent dining.

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress puts you at a fifteen drive from both Disney World and Universal Orlando and even closer to SeaWorld. Though this hotel offers a theme park shuttle, I wouldn’t rely on it as the timings are sporadic. I recommend spending a couple of days at both Disney and Universal and saving at least one day to take advantage of the pool and amenities here.

You can find cheaper hotels closer to Disney World, but if you want a relaxing vacation vibe, I think this hotel is worth it. And if you have my favorite credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, it will only cost 15,000 points per night when transferred to Hyatt! For credit card point users like me, this is by far the best deal in the Orlando theme park area.

hyatt regency grand cypress resort pool

Best Universal Theme Park Hotels

As of early 2023, Universal Orlando now has eight of its own on-site hotels that rival the twenty-five at Disney World. Even with all the magical memories, I have on Disney property, I now find Universal to be a much better deal. These Universal theme park hotels are more affordable and more convenient than most Disney ones.

I will go through both my favorite on-site Universal hotel and my favorite off-site option. Both are ideal if you plan to spend the bulk of your stay at Universal parks instead of Disney World theme parks. With two theme parks, the best water park in Orlando, and all the entertainment at CityWalk, you can now easily spend a week at Universal Orlando!

universal hotels boat transportation

5. Best On-Site Universal Theme Park Hotel – Sapphire Falls

For a Universal Orlando vacation, the best on-site hotel is Sapphire Falls. Many might argue that if budget is no issue Portofino Bay or Royal Pacific are better. That is because those hotels include a Universal Express fast pass with your stay. However, with those rarely going below $500 per night, I think Sapphire Falls is the best hotel for the value and atmosphere.

With rates between $200 to $350 per night, Sapphire Falls Resort has everything you need for a Universal vacation. It is a quick walk or boat ride to the theme parks and water parks, so much so that we were able to come back multiple times per day while staying with our dog. Staying here also gets you into the park one hour before opening most days and with this, we were able to go on everything without needing a fast pass.

Best of all, it has a beautiful Caribbean atmosphere and a couple of delicious restaurants. We are obsessed with the Strong Water Taven for both its food and drinks and the live music. The pool area is spacious and fun and the rooms are super comfortable. As a long-time Disney World fan, it surprises me to say this, but this is truly one of, if not the best, theme park hotels in Orlando.

Sapphire Falls Universal orlando Resort

6. Best Off-Site Universal Theme Park Hotel – Hyatt House Universal

For large families looking for an affordable Orlando hotel near the theme parks, this Hyatt House is my top pick. It is actually called “Hyatt House Across from Universal Orlando Resort” so you know you will be close to a few theme parks. They offer a shuttle with some transportation or you can take the 20-minute walk to the Universal theme parks.

Most rooms here sleep six and some even have bunk beds, so it’s one of the few options that can accommodate families with more than two kids. They also feature a kitchen with a full fridge, stovetop, microwave, and dishwasher perfect for cooking a few meals during your stay. Unbelievably, these rooms are less than $200 a night or only 12,000 Hyatt points.

Though this is a budget hotel, it really does not feel like it. There is free breakfast in a modern dining area, a large sparkling pool, and even firepits around the resort. It has been open for a few years now and I always think they will realize what a deal this place is and raise prices. But for now, be sure to take advantage of this Hyatt House that is conveniently near Universal Orlando Resort.

Hyatt House Across from Universal orlando Resort lobby

7. Best SeaWorld Hotel – Hilton Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando is looking to grow its portfolio with more rollercoasters than ever and a water park next door. Regardless, I think it is still a few years away from accommodating more than a two-day trip. If you want to have a SeaWorld plus resort type of vacation, I think the Hilton Orlando is the ideal hotel to stay at. It is close to SeaWorld and Universal, in addition to offering all sorts of activities at the hotel itself.

For SeaWorld, there are “Official Hotels” and “Partner Hotels”. The Official hotels have a SeaWorld shuttle that goes to SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove, as well as priority entry some days, reserved seating at the Orca show, and shopping and dining discounts. The partner hotels offer all this, except the shuttle.

Hilton Orlando resort i drive

The Hilton Orlando is a partner hotel, but I think the lack of shuttle is made up for by the pool, restaurants, and amenities at it. Despite not being an official hotel, it is the ideal theme park resort to spend a week at. You can also book a SeaWorld hotel package here and bundle park tickets.

The Hilton Orlando is only a five-minute drive from SeaWorld, so you can easily go for a few hours and then come back for a pool break during the heat of the day. The resort itself is stunning with multiple pools, a lazy river, sports courts, and a huge gym and spa. The food here is also fantastic, especially the breakfast buffet with its top-notch selection. Staying at the Hilton Orlando, you can easily enjoy the Orlando theme parks and get some relaxation, often for under $200 per night.

hilton orlando convention center

8. Best LEGOLAND Hotel – LEGOLAND Beach Retreat

An hour outside of Orlando, LEGOLAND has all sorts of Lego fun for kids. Though this is a very unique park with rides themed to Legos and a whole minland built out of actual Legos, most will only spend a day here. However, families with Lego lovers may want to consider a weekend trip here, as it now has three hotels, the Peppa Pig theme park, and a water park.

The hotels tend to be about $200 per night, not including theme park tickets. There are also hotel packages that you can get a deal with. According to the reviews, I would recommend the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat or Pirate Hotel, as the main hotel sounds like it is outdated.

Keep in mind the LEGOLAND theme park hotels are only worth it when visiting with kids, as the rooms are very LEGO-themed and far from the rest of the Orlando theme parks. However, they have some fun touches, like a separate room with bunk beds in every room, LEGO scavenger hunts nightly, and themed pool areas. These hotels are also within walking distance of the parks.

Honestly, this seems like something I would have LOVED as a kid, so it is definitely a good option for a more affordable, but unique Orlando theme park vacation.

Know Before You Go: The Best Orlando Theme Park Hotels

The decision of which hotel to stay at on your theme park vacation is one of the most important you will make! I always weigh the options carefully to determine how much time transportation will take, the costs versus the benefits, and the overall vibe of the vacation. Depending on what theme parks you are visiting, this guide should be able to point you in the right direction. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind before your trip!

  • Keep in mind that hotels near theme parks charge a premium and often the quality is less than what you would expect of a similarly priced hotel in a city.
  • Both the Disney and Universal hotels are often Florida resident deals, so make sure to look through all the options before booking.
  • Theme Park hotels are the cheapest during the offseason which tends to be August, September, and Late January-Mid February. Weekdays are cheaper than weekends.
  • Hurricane season is June through October and in the event of a major hurricane these parks will shut down. I recommend avoiding this time of year unless you are okay with this risk.
  • Most hotels charge a parking fee and a resort fee, so be sure to include these rates in your budget.
  • if you only plan to have one pool day, you could always stay at a cheaper hotel and then purchase a ResortPass to use the pool at a better one! This guide has some options for the best Orlando ResortPass options.
  • I hope this guide helped you decide which Orlando theme park hotel to stay at! If you need help planning a trip to Orlando, I am partnered with Kelly’s Magical Vacations and highly recommend her services. Find out more here!

For more tips for visiting Orlando, be sure to check out my Orlando vacation guide here.

8 best orlando theme park hotels